What is the DSECT program?

The DSECT program offers opportunities across a broad spectrum of research areas for trainees to learn together and from each other as a key impetus for filling the critical void of skilled and knowledgeable researchers in the area of drug safety and effectiveness.

DSECT is a one year virtual program delivered primarily online with some opportunities for in person experiential events.

What is the major goal of the DSECT program?

We aim to provide a training environment for future scientists in Canada who can undertake high-quality post-market research in the area of drug safety and effectiveness and training that is focused on integrative thinking within an interdisciplinary environment.

Please find all of our program and trainee objectives in the DSECT Program Handbook to learn more and to see if this training program is the right fit for you.

Download Handbook here


The DSECT program curriculum has been designed to augment current graduate and post-graduate training and provide critical knowledge and skills in drug safety and effectiveness (DS&E) to trainees from all backgrounds. Trainees will complete one of the three streams.

Stream 1: Foundational knowledge and skills in DS&E
  • Duration: 1 Year
  • Primarily targeted to full-time graduate students (MSc, PhD) and post-doctoral fellows
  • Interactive, web-based foundations courses in DS&E research topics
  • Self-study modules on basic DS&E research topics
  • Research and professional skills training and an opportunity to complete an optional practicum
  • Attendance of 3-day, in-person Annual Symposium
  • Objective Structured Knowledge Translation Experience (OSKTE) culminating activity
  • Following completion of Stream 1, trainees can apply for a second year of funding to complete Stream 2
Stream 2: Advanced DS&E knowledge and skill training
  • Duration: 1 Year
  • Stream 2 will build on all the features of the Stream 1 program; however, individually tailored advanced training is provided in DS&E research, dependent on the learning objectives set by the trainee
  • Can directly apply for Stream 2 if foundational knowledge and research experience can be justified
Stream 3: Exposure to DS&E research and concepts
  • Duration: 1 Year
  • Primarily targeted to knowledge users, undergraduate research-focused trainees, clinical pharmacology trainees, new faculty, or international trainees
  • Participants will not be funded through DSECT
Program Innovation

The primary innovations of this program are designed to produce:

  • Trainees with a higher level of competence as DS&E researchers
  • Trainees that can better foster scientific diversity and enable collaboration with those from other disciplines
  • Trainees who can work collaboratively to address DS&E issues in the real world
  • Trainees with improved abilities to translate research findings into clinical and policy arenas
  • Novel experiences for mentors
Curriculum Overview

Trainees in this program will have the opportunity to engage in several learning sessions and experiences, including foundational coursework, research and professional skill building seminars, practicums and exposures, and practical knowledge translation activities. To further the interdisciplinary experience, trainees will be paired with other trainees to work together and integrate perspectives addressing real-world medication use issues throughout the program. The training experience will be varied depending on the trainee’s individual learning plan (developed with their mentor) as well as the program stream in which the trainee is participating.
To learn more about the key features of the DSECT program curriculum, please review the program handbook.

Download Handbook here